We are seeing so many people in the pharmacy right now with sore throats! Thankfully most sore throats, if treated quickly, can be easily managed with lozenges, throat spray or even gargling with salt water.
If a sore throat is left untreated in children, however, it can lead to complications such as rheumatic fever, and possibly heart damage.
Most sore throats get better on their own, but if “strep throat” is not treated with antibiotics it can cause rheumatic fever in at-risk children. Because rheumatic fever is such a serious illness, all sore throats in Maori and Pacific children and young people (aged 4 and above) need to be checked.
If your child has “strep throat”, they’ll be given antibiotics to clear up the infection before it can develop into rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever makes the heart, joints, brain and skin swollen and painful. While the symptoms of rheumatic fever may disappear on their own, the inflammation can cause rheumatic heart disease, where there is scarring of the heart valves. Rheumatic heart disease can be life-threatening.
If your child develops rheumatic fever they will need a lot of bed rest and time off school. They’ll need to stay in hospital for weeks, where they will have examinations and blood tests to check their condition. It will be more difficult for them to play sport or to take part other activities as they will have less energy. It will also mean years of antibiotic injections.
Don’t take a chance with your child’s health
If you have concerns about your child’s sore throat, then call into Clive’s Chemist or your GP clinic. If necessary, your child will be given antibiotics. Or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week).